Chioma Uchefuna

Year in Program: 2

Fields: Africa -West Africa, African American History, World History

Advisor: Dr. Nwando Achebe

Research Languages: Igbo, Pidgin English, English

Educational Background: B.A in History and International Studies (Imo State University), MA in African Studies (Ohio University)


I am a second year doctoral student in African History, advised by Dr.Nwando Achebe. My doctoral work at MSU will center on Igbo women’s use of prostitution as strategy for survival during the Nigerian/Biafran war, from 1967 to 1970. I intend to investigate how the war rearranged gender relationships in families and the society, the psychological choices women made to protect their families and women’s realities during this period. My research will investigate terms such as “izu afia attack,” “iso Awusa,” “bottom power” and generally, the power inherent in the woman’s body and how Igbo women used this power as a war strategy. The research will touch themes of identity, religion, power, gender complexities and sexuality.

Prior to coming to MSU,  I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in History and International studies at Imo State University (Nigeria), a Master’s degree in International Studies (with concentration in African Studies) and a Graduate Certificate on Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, at Ohio University. At Ohio University, my professional project titled “Gender Stratification, Power and Agency in Precolonial and Colonial Igboland” examined women’s roles,  gender associations and complexities in Igboland and the changed narratives from precolonial to colonial periods.

I am broadly interested in gender and sexuality studies, oral history and the preservation of oral histories.